Archive for March 2006
Update 9/4/08 – For some reason the pictures disappeared. I have reposted this article at Mounting the Best Water Bottle with new pictures.
Easy on and off is the key to making the Camelback Unbottle a really useful tool. Here’s how I do it on a Ryan Vanguard or a Longbikes Slipstream. This approach should work on any bike with accessible seat stays.
I just add three sturdy but short bungee cords to provide shock mounting. Be sure the hooks have plastic covers so they don’t scratch your bike. Close one hook on each bungee cord with a pair of pliers so that it is permanently attached to the 2 top rings and one of the bottom rings on the Unbottle.
Then just slip the Unbottle behind the seat as shown in picture by attaching the 2 top bungees over the top stay on the seat back. The lower bungee is snaked though a lower seat stay or rea stays on the bike and hooked to the other ring on the Unbottle. You may have to wind it around the stay a few times to get the proper tension, firm but not tight.
The best water bottle for a recumbent may be the 100 Oz. Camelback Unbottle.
I like the way it easily mounts on the back of the seat with no extra straps or pockets that really aren’t usable and just get in the way.
It holds a 100 Oz., plenty until your next stop. Plus it is nicely insulated and has a gigantic mouth. The big mouth makes it easy to clean and fill with ice.
The 100 Oz. Unbottle is available at Amazon and Nashbar for about $30.
There is something special about just having a sip of cold water anytime you want it. No reaching around for the water bottle and fumbling it with it while you drink. The tube of the Unbottle just rests there on your helmet strap and without taking your eyes off the road you sip and ride. No need to wait to guzzle water until you can’t wait any longer. Just take a sip of cold water from the insulated Unbottle every few minutes to stay hydrated.
See Mounting the UnBottle for more information.
There is an updated version of this post at Riding Sandals Update.
My favorite riding sandals are Columbia Surf Tide Sandals. They are waterproof, comfortable, and inexpensive. They also have a narrower profile that fits better in my PowerGrips.
For me there is also another consideration, many sandals have a toe grip on the insole. The toe grip doesn’t seem to work for me; it presses on the bones in my foot producing an excruciating pain after about 10 miles.
I have used Birkenstock and Clark sandals with great success. The downside on these is that they aren’t waterproof and don’t dry very quickly.
I usually bring 2 pairs of sandals with me on tours so that I can change when I get off the bike. A cool, dry pair of sandals at the end of the day feels pretty good.
Columbia Surf Tide Sandals are on sale now at Campmor.com for about $20.
See Shoes and Pedals for more posts on this topic
These are great looking sandals, nicely made and highly recommended by Sheldon Brown at Harris Cyclery. But they just don’t work on my hobbit feet. The toe ridge on the insole hits the bones of my feet instead of falling under the toes and produces a terrific pain after just a few miles.
I was surprised to learn that almost evey professional racing bike has a Dog Fang. Well what is a Dog Fang? It is a little piece mounted on the down stay by the smallest chain ring that prevents the chain from jumping off to the inside of the chain ring.
Well, if racers use them why don’t bicycle tourists who have very small inner chain ring and big jumps between the middle and inner chain rings. In fact they do. My favorite bicycling authority Sheldon Brown from Harris Cyclery recommends the “N Gear Jump Stop”. I have taken his advice and mounted them on my Slipstrean and Vanguard.
Sheldon says that you can now adjust the front derailleur for faster shifting and let the Jump Stop guide the chain onto the inner chain ring without worrying about chain jumping to the inside.
Having the chain jump off the inner chain ring has been a real problem for me on the Ryan Vanguard since I went to the 22 inner chain ring(44-32-22 mountain gearing). It always seems to happen when I need that quick shift at the bottom of a steep hill. Most times the chain will jam itself and need a lot of tugging to get out. But lets not forget that after freeing the chain my hands are covered with nasty chain gunk.
How well does it worked? I don’t know for sure but have not had any missed shifts since I installed it 2 weeks ago. But I will say if it prevents one missed shift at the bottom of a hill it has more than paid for itself with a price of $10.
The best place to get one is at the home of the Jump Stop at N Gear Jump Stop Home. They have an offer that is hard to beat. Just tell them what size down tube you have and they send you a Jump Stop. If you like it send them $10 and if you don’t send it back. Best price and service you’ll find anywhere.
This post has been updated. Click link to see the update.
I know razors aren't what you are expecting on a bicycling site. But I love this razor. I was very skeptical, but yes more blades do mean a better shave.
Buy one and try it. You'll be impressed. I'm buying a second for long tours this summer.
I think I may have discovered the best cycling cap available. For most of you a helmet is enough but for those of us who need sun protection in a vented helmet the right cap is important.
The Headsweats Race Cap has everything I've been looking for in a under helmet cap. It has a soft skin friendly feel and mesh construction that breathes well and feels good. It is made from CoolMax and has a CoolMax Terry Band that keeps the sweat out of your eyes on warm days. This material doesn't feel like any CoolMax I've ever encountered before. It has a very light soft mesh, breathable feel, not at all like the the plastic bag feel I have come to associate with CoolMax. CoolMax is not hydroscoptic so it won't hold moisture and get heavy as you ride and it dries quickly.
This Cap is lighter, softer and breathes better that the Patagonia Running Cap that I have been using. It has a short bill that protects your eyes from rain and glare and an adjustable clip in the back. The clip is small and you can't feel it with your helmet on. I like the ability to open the clip and use it to attach the hat to my helmet or bike when I take it off.
Great hat, highly recommended. You can find on the web at Amazon.com or Bike Nashbar for about $17.
Hind Munich Pants Item Number: 04788 at Campmor.com. $29 usually $60 These are great bicycling pants. I wear for cool days, rain pants, and off bike pants on long trips. Very flexible and very comfortable also available in both Men's and Women's versions.
Canari Spectrum Bike Glove (For Unisex) Item Number: 52101 at Campmor.com for $9 usually $20. Nice glove at a great price. A little more padding in the palm than I like and run a litlle small but excellent glove.
March 21, 2006
I am back at Bear Brook State Park. This time I have the map and I am feeling like a lot more adventureous.
The weather is a lot warmers and the sun is out (44 versus 28 on Sunday), it is about 2:30 PM. I've been working in the morning. It is warn enough that I ride without a jacket until the sun starts to go down around 5 PM. Then the temperture drops quickly.
I ride about 10 miles in 3 hours versus 7 miles in 50 minutes last time. This time I brought a map with me and explored some of the trails. I learned there are 5 types of trails:
1. Paved Road about 4 miles
2. Unpaved Roads
3. Very bad Dirt roads
4. Snowmobile Trails
5. Cross Country Ski Trails
The warmer weather and sun have melted the ice layer under the dirt where the sun can hit it. This really slows the bike down because the wheel sinks in the soft spots. I also discovered that my cross with 700C wheels only really works on the 2 highest grades of roads (paved and unpaved).
I also learn that the map I had really didn't show the difference between the different types of roads because it assumed your were on skis. I did about 2 miles on a X-C ski Trail, that was after about 4 miles on really bad dirt road and 2 miles of paved road. I said to myself "How bad can a mile and a half or two miles of X-C Ski Trail be?".
I found that walking and carrying the bike I only average about 2 miles per hour. Also I was gripping the bars so hard on descents that my hands started to cramp after about and hour and a half.
I did find it exciting when I was riding along the board walk through the swamp between the 2 lakes near the campground and the slats started falling off. That slowed me down as much as climbing the X-C Trail carrying the bike.
I think this will be my last trail ride until summer. It looks like mud season is here and neither the Cross nor the Slipstream is a good mud bike. But I had a great work out and even enjoyed the walking.
It was a great day. After a long winter to be warmed by a bright sun and to be out riding without a jacket felt amazing. The forest that felt like I owned it because it was just me, the birds, and the sound of the wind in the trees. The bright splashs of green in the low spots grabbed my eye and made my sprit soar.
I can't wait any longer for Spring!
March 19, 2006
It has been a long winter in New Hampshire and it is time for me to start training for the 1000 mile bike ride I am planning to take in June. The weather is colder than normal for this time of year (mid to upper 20's during the day) and as always windy (20 mph).
The roads are clear because we haven't had much snow and I have done a few rides on my Longbikes Slipstream but I'm looking for more of a challenge. I 'm planning to start the season by riding the dirt roads on my Cross. It is a very different experience than the recumbent and works different muscles. But it is also harder and I'm expecting this work will help build a stronger riding base. The cross has 700C wheels and is fine on good dirt roads but definitely isn't a mountain bike. It is what I ride when the roads are messy or the bike that I lend to friends when they visit.
Sunday, it was sunny but cold and windy (28 F and 20 mph). Looking out the windows of my home everything looks great but outside the wind has a bite. But I have a bad case of cabin fever so I'm off to Bear Brook State Park. It's the largest State Park in New Hampshire and it's only 30 minutes away. The park is know for its bicycling trails.
I arrive just after lunch and the weather is bright and clear but I forgot the trail map. No problem I'll just stay on the loop road. I ride the loop road and it take about an hour to ride the 7 mile loop. Most of the road is dirt but it is frozen and the Cross has no problem except for a short section that is covered by ice. I can tell it is nippy because the water in my bottle freezes and and the front of my legs are cold.
The first hill is tough for me. I pass a group of Mountain Bikes and complain about what this diamond frame is doing to me. But it is great to be out riding and I finish the 7 mile loop in about 56 minutes. The forest has broken the wind but hums with the sound of the wind in its branches. It is beautiful but I am ready for a warm shower. This is a great way to start the bicycling season.